Forty bucks for high-speed Internet access? Not a bad deal. But how does free sound?

To a growing number of Internet piggy-backers, it's the sweet sound of pirating their neighbor's wireless network.

Most new computers are equipped for wireless Internet access, and more and more people opting for Wi-Fi in their homes. But as the networks become stronger and more prevalent, more of those signals are available outside the home of the subscriber, spilling over into neighbor's apartments, hallways and the street.

Add to this the growing number of cafes and other public "hot spots" that offer Wi-Fi (for wireless fidelity) connections and the ability to buy more powerful antennas that can pick up signals several hundred feet away. The coverage in some places can be pretty near flawless.

One study by Jupiter Research said 14 percent of wireless network owners have accessed their neighbor's connection. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that more and more people are logging on for free.

This is why it is some important to SECURE YOUR WIRELESS ACCESS.

Use the links below for steps you can take to make sure you're wireless access is not being pinched from:

Securing your Wireless Network

Wireless LAN security guide

Ten Steps to a Secure Wireless Network,4149,844020,00.asp

How to do it: Securing your wireless LAN